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Pico Projectors - A Summary 2

Posted on July 1, 2009 by Art Feierman

Pico Projectors: Pros

  • They are tiny - ultimate in portability, weighing a half pound or less, and smaller than a pack of cigarettes
  • Most have more than one type of input. The standard is composite video, but some offer VGA, USB, memory card capability, etc.
  • Some offer a built in media player so you can leave your source device behind. You can take movies and other video files with you. For example, hoook up to a DVD player, select internal or SD memory card, and press the OK button, and the media player will record the movie or video file. When the movie finishes, hit OK again, to stop the recording. You can disconnect the source, and now run the movie, etc., from the projector's media player
  • Included or third party optional software allows many projectors to convert files for business or personal presentations and slideshows
  • Most typically, battery life is good for up to one hour of use between charges - at least one soon to be released model is claiming 2 hours
  • Relatively quick recharge (4 hours or less)
  • Most have audio - one or two speakers
  • Some have audio out, to power external speakers or headphones/earbuds
  • Most have a built in tripod screw thread, or an optional one
  • One year warranty, so far is most common (some 90 day warranties)
  • Most offer at least VGA resolution - 640x480, with widescreen models also hitting the market (854x480), the same resolution as standard DVDs
  • Long life LED light source in most, typically claiming 20,000 hour life, however some models will be sporting laser light sources (similar life?)

PicoProjectors: Cons

  • They just aren't that bright - and work best with image sizes 20 inches diagonal or smaller
  • Some (most?) projectors cannot charge the battery while running on AC power (turn off the projector to have it charge)
  • Color and picture quality needs improvement - Most pico projectors, so far, lack any image controls. Those that do, seem to be very limited in terms of improving color and picture
  • Some lack any speaker (which means you need an alternate solution for audio, such as powered speakers, and your source device would need to be able to output audio separate from video
  • Most pico projectors have one hour battery life or less, so you'll need a spare battery, for example, if you wanted to watch a movie
  • Some have short warranties (90 days or less)
  • None on the market so far, offer a wide range of inputs - in a perfect world one might have: VGA, composite, component video, (maybe HDMI), and USB (from digital cameras and camcorders for example) and card slots. So far, none have more than two inputs
  • So far only a couple have media player capabilities.

Pico Projectors: Typical Capabilities

  • Fixed lens - no zoom
  • Most have fairly long throw distances - 19 inches away for a 10 inch image
  • 8 - 12 lumens output
  • Run on rechargeable batteries
  • Poor documentation (It's almost scary, how thin the manuals are - and I mean in info, as well as thin in number of pages
  • Picture quality that is not great - inaccurate colors, too much contrast, on most units so far
  • Lack of color management controls on most projectors - of the ones that have some, while somewhat effective do not improve color and picture to the point of being "good" by the standards for larger projectors

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